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Google Testing New Double-Tap Gesture on Back of Pixel Phones for Launching Camera, Assistant, and More

Google is reportedly testing an interesting new gesture for its Pixel smartphones that lets users double-tap the back of the handset to control various functions.

XDA-Developers discovered the new gesture system, codenamed “Columbus,” in the Android 11 developer preview for Pixel phones. According to the site, the double-tap gesture can be used to perform the following actions:

  • Dismiss timers
  • Snooze alarms
  • Launch the camera
  • Invoke Google Assistant
  • Play or pause media
  • Collapse the status bar
  • Silence incoming calls
  • Unpin notifications
  • Other “user-selected action”

The double-tap gesture apparently doesn’t require any special hardware, as it relies on the phone’s gyroscope and accelerometer. XDA-Developers managed to get the gesture working on a Pixel 2 XL and Pixel 4 XL, both running Android 11 Developer Preview 1. You can see the gesture being used to launch the Camera app in the clip below.

GIF via XDA-Developers
To prevent the gesture being activated unintentionally, Google has also added so-called “gates” to stop the double tap actions from taking effect. Some of the currently implemented gates are said to include camera visibility, charging status, keyguard, and more. XDA believes the Settings app will also contain gesture training activities for the user to perform in order to refine its responsiveness.

Google’s own-branded Android phones have included innovative interactive gestures before, such as fingerprint gestures, Active Edge, and Motion Sense on the Pixel 4 series. Active Edge lets users squeeze the sides of the device to quickly activate Google Assistant, while Motion Sense allows users to skip songs, snooze alarms, and silence phone calls by waving a hand in front of the phone.

Apple has also experimented with new ways of interacting with iPhones, including the use of touch and touchless gestures. A 2018 rumor from Bloomberg suggested Apple is working on iPhones that will use touchless gesture controls, allowing users to hover over the iPhone to navigate through the iOS operating system using a finger, but without having to touch the display.

If Apple moved forward with that rumored gesture technology, it could show up in iPhones as early as 2020, according to Bloomberg’s two-year timeline for the feature. It’s not yet clear if Apple is continuing to experiment with gestures, though, as we haven’t heard any information on such a feature coming to the 2020 ‌‌iPhone‌‌ lineup.

What do you think of Google’s rear double-tap gesture? Is it something you’d like to see in a new-generation ‌‌iPhone‌‌, or are touch-less gestures the future? Let us know in the comments.

Tags: Android, Google Pixel
This article, “Google Testing New Double-Tap Gesture on Back of Pixel Phones for Launching Camera, Assistant, and More” first appeared on MacRumors.com

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Tello Buyer’s Guide (October 2020)

Just about anyone you’d ask is familiar with the top-tier wireless service providers in Verizon, AT&T, and T-Mobile. What about lesser known, or newer brands?Let’s take a look at a relatively younger carrier, Tello. This guide will serve to help you understand what the MVNO offers and how it competes in the mobile arena.Where can I buy an unlocked phone?Buying an unlocked phone? Consider these questionsTips for buying a used phoneTell me about TelloTello is a newer player in the mobile field and finds itself in the increasingly crowded segment of low-cost, no-frills alternatives. Its service uses Sprint’s network for coverage but it operates with its own plans and features.What are Tello rate plans like?Tello rate plans are no-contract, meaning you can go month-to-month with no long-term agreement, cancellation, or activation fees. As many carriers in this space do, Tello throttles speeds once hitting the data allowance as opposed to charging overage fees.Customers can mix and match rate plans based on personal needs. A lot of users have access to Wi-Fi connections, or don’t make many calls in a month. To that end, it’s possible to dial things up or down to suit tastes; subscribers can change their plan as often as needed.Ready-made PlansThere are four ready-made plans that do a great job of meeting the demands of most users. They cost as low as $10 per month and include unlimited text and calling.$10/month: Unlimited Talk and Text with 1GB of high-speed data$14/month: Unlimited Talk and Text with 2GB of high-speed data$19/month: Unlimited Talk and Text with 4GB of high-speed data$39/month: Unlimited Talk and Text with Unlimited high-speed dataAre there any other Tello features?Tello offers a handful of other options to its customers, including mobile hotspot and international calls. You can use any amount of your data plan to tether other devices. Calls to Mexico, Canada, and China are the same as if you called in the United States.What about international calls and texts?In addition to the aforementioned countries, Tello subscribers can make calls to other India, Cuba, and a host of other countries. Each has its own rate and can be used in a mix-and-match fashion. All one need do is purchase a Pay As You Go credit ahead of time.The credit can also be used for SMS or data, depending on which plan you’re signed up with at the time.Does Tello have a referral program?Yes, they’re called Tello Dollars and the referral program rewards you for signing up friends and family members. Share your referral link, and once your friend places their first successful order, you get $10 Tello Dollars. Your friend also gets $10 Tello Dollars.You can refer as many friends as you like and the money can be used for things like rate plans, phones, and PAYG credits.What kind of phones does Tello offer?Taking a look at the current lineup of phones offered through Tello we find familiar names like LG, Samsung, and Motorola. All told, there are more than two dozen phones to choose from but it’s a real tossup as to what’s available.Buying an unlocked phone? Consider these questionsWhich carrier has the best value at $50 a month?Which major prepaid carrier has the best $40 rate plan?As is the case with prepaid providers or MVNO brands, selection is a mixed bag and leans more toward affordability and not performance.READ: Best phones available at TelloIt’s worth noting that the phones you order from Tello will come in plain generic packaging and may only include the charger and battery. There will be no manual, earbuds, or other accessories.Are there any phone deals with Tello?Indeed, there are plenty of phones with discounts, some ranging as high as $50 off. About half of the current roster is comprised of refurbished phones, which also means lower prices.Can I use my own phone with Tello?Yes, you can use any Sprint-compatible phone just so long as there’s no unpaid balance on another network. You’ll need to ensure it’s unlocked for use outside of Sprint if it was previously used with another carrier.Tello only accepts unlocked CDMA devices or unlocked multi-network phones that incorporate both CDMA and GSM technologies.Head to Tello’s website to check whether your specific model is supported.

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